An event hosted by AHDB brought key players in the industry together to develop a Mushroom Grower Group, aiming to solve future challenges.
The Mushroom Conference 2019 gave AHDB opportunity to propose a new platform for commercial growers to discuss challenges, priorities and highlight areas for future research and development, at the event held on 25 April.
Steve Tones, Horticulture Strategy Director at AHDB, said: “The objective of the Mushroom Conference was to suggest to the industry that we needed a grower forum and the feedback has been very positive. It was agreed that the new group will ensure that we continue to steer our priorities at AHDB so the industry can remain resilient through future challenges.”
The Mushroom Grower Group aims to guide the use of grower levy through steering the research and development strategy for the mushroom sector. British Growers’ Association (BGA) and AHDB, along with other organisations, will achieve this by working closely together and feeding this through the AHDB Protected Edibles and Mushroom Panel.
Growers will be given the opportunity to identify opportunities for knowledge transfer and represent the industry on key issues.
The Mushroom Conference 2019 provided growers a platform to highlight their concerns for the industry. The key issues included:
- Labour concerns
- Loss of crop protection products
- Research and development
- Developing new market opportunities
Previously the Mushroom Grower Group was funded by AHDB during 2014-2016. This new proposition by BGA entails growers joining the association and sharing the cost of running the group equally between mushroom growers. External allied trades can also make their contribution but will not have any voting rights.
Jack Ward, Chief Executive of British Growers’ Association said: “It’s about creating an opportunity for networking, for the dissemination of ideas and information and bringing people together. The principles will be similar to the previous Mushroom Grower group but the style of operation will be very different.”
The industry believes it’s not only vital for mushroom growers to have their voice heard but it will also allow the sector to focus their time, money and resources around future innovation for the mushroom industry.
The Mushroom Conference also looked at other areas such as innovation. John Peeters from Mushroom Consulting, in Holland explored the options of an automated picking trolley, a one-layer system and a moving bed system. These systems could provide cost, money and time savings.
AHDB Horticulture’s leading campaign, SmartHort, focuses on labour efficiency and the latest innovation for the horticulture sector. Some of the issues mentioned are currently being addressed, such as seasonal labour and labour efficiency.
For further information on how to get involved in the Mushroom Grower Group contact Nathalie Key at Nathalie.Key@ahdb.org.uk.
For further information on presentations from the speakers on the day please visit, ahdb.org.uk/events/mushroom-conference-2019.